What ever happened to Damian Cupido?

BY – JACKSON CLARK (Twitter – @JClark182)

FACEBOOK – Lace Out with Jackson Clark


As a 21-year-old, Damian Cupido was on top of the world.

The South African-born footballer had just kicked an impressive 39 goals for Essendon in his first season at the club, including five goals against Collingwood on ANZAC Day.

Over the following two seasons he would add just 17 games to his tally before eventually being delisted at the conclusion of the 2005 season.

A 53-game AFL career is certainly something to be proud of, but for a man that has been described as ‘one of the most naturally talented footballers to play the game’, was it a case of unfulfilled potential?

“I’d be lying if I said at times it didn’t eat at you knowing that you could have done more.” Cupido told Lace Out Podcast.

“At the end of the day the ball was always in my court.

“Could I have done things differently? Sure I could have, but being a young bloke I thought I was pretty invincible; I probably believed some of the talk around myself at the time.”

Cupido’s career at the top level started interstate, after he was selected in the 1999 AFL Draft to the Brisbane Lions.

It was a tumultuous inception into life as a professional footballer.

“At the draft camp, I spoke to every club except the Brisbane Lions so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was pretty tough to break into that side.”

A combination of homesickness and more opportunity, resulted in the mercurial forward seeking a trade.

Post-AFL, Cupido continues to bedazzle the crowds – albeit a smaller contingent of people – with his amazing exploits around goal.

He spent a couple of seasons in the SANFL, broke a long-standing season goal tally record in the NTFL, and is essentially a ‘gun for hire’ for local clubs throughout Victoria.’

The man is generally either loved or hated at country and suburban venues, but for Cupido it is water off a duck’s back.

“I have always said to myself the day that the crowd is not yelling or screaming at me trying to get under my skin is the day I would give it away.

“I see it as a backhanded compliment.”

How does the man in the mirror evaluate his career?

“If I said I had no regrets, I’d be a hypocrite and a liar – of course I have regrets but there’s also a lot of things I’ve been thankful for.

“It’s been a much maligned career, but you take the good with the bad and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t have gone through what I did and I am very thankful for what I have.”

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

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